Michael Phelps breaks 2,000-year-old Olympic record

The 31-year-old American has to go down as one of the greatest Olympians that has ever lived

Michael Phelps has smashed every record in the modern Olympics, that historians have began to compare the American swimmer to stars of the ancient Olympic Games.

The 31-year-old won his 21st Olympic gold medal in the early hours of Wednesday morning, when he won the 200-metre butterfly final. That win was Phelps' 12th individual title. That gold medal brought him level with Leonidas of Rhodes as having won the most individual Olympic titles. He needed just one more medal to break a record that has stood since 152 BC and had the chance to do so just 24 hours later.

On Thursday night, he cruised to victory in the 200-metre individual medley meaning he broke that record that stood for over 2,000 years and firmly stamped his name into the record books - even the most ancient of ones.

Leonidas won the stadion, the diaulos, and the hoplitodromos in four consecutive Olympics between 164 BC and 152 BC. The three races are the ancient equivalent of the 200-metres, the 400-metres and the 400-metres with heavy armour.

The hoplitodromos involved running from one end of the Olympic stadium to the other, and back, whilst wearing bronze armour and carrying a sword and shield. The other events would have been competed in, while athletes were naked.

Phelps has another chance to further his grip on the record with the 100-metre butterfly event still to come and with two gold medals already in his back pocket, it would be difficult to rule him out.

What a fitting way to end the greatest Olympic career ever.